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Photo: Sævar Guðjónsson, Veðurstofa Íslands. A recent avalanche on Hólmgerðarfjall mountain, East Iceland.

133 Avalanches in Iceland in Ten Days

An unusually high number of avalanches has fallen across East Iceland, North Iceland, and the Westfjords in recent days, according to the Icelandic Met Office. The Office has received 133 reports of avalanches in the past 10 days, though the true number is likely higher. The Civil Protection Department has declared an uncertainty phase in the North Westfjords as well as North and East Iceland due to ongoing risk.

Most of the 133 reports are from the Westfjords (52) and Northeast Iceland (41) with the third-highest number being reported in the Eastfjords (24). “It is clear that many more avalanches have occurred without being recorded. Many floods fall off the beaten track, others hit without being seen, and not all avalanches are reported to the Met Office,” a blog post from the Met Office reads. Heavy snowfall across the aforementioned regions is, of course, the cause, and the snow blanketing the slopes is considered unstable. The Office reports that some avalanches have fallen in still weather.

Read More: Avalanche Barriers in Iceland

Avalanches have fallen on several roads across the country, leading to closures while snow is cleared. The Road and Coastal Administration notifies travellers of road closures across the country while the Met Office reports on avalanche risk.

No people have been injured as a result of the events, though one recent avalanche in Skagafjörður killed at least three horses and destroyed a shed. One avalanche on the Skarðsdalur skiing grounds in North Iceland caused significant damage to the facilities. A third near Eskifjörður, East Iceland, damaged a shooting range and appears to have damaged facilities in the area as well.

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